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London Fashion Week opens in mourning for queen

A scaled-back London Fashion Week opened with catwalk shows on Friday but without after-show parties following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and with a pause planned for her funeral next week.

The twice-yearly event had planned to get fully back on track after two years of Covid disruption that predicated virtual shows.

But the death of the queen, aged 96, on September 8 has seen the industry showpiece scaled-back, with high-fashion brands including Burberry and Raf Simons cancelling their shows.

“We are in a period of national mourning,” Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, which organises the event, told AFP.

Rush noted the importance of being “very mindful... of what’s happening in the country and of course, recognising the passing of our monarch, who has been a fantastic champion of our industry for so many years”.

Britain will hold a minute’s silence on Sunday at 1900 GMT and LFW plans to take part.

The queen, seen as a fashion icon during her 70 years on the throne, launched the QEII Award for British Design at LFW in 2018, presenting Richard Quinn with the inaugural award.

With parties postponed, this season’s London event will focus on the business side of securing orders for the clothes featured on the runway for next spring.

Shows that had been scheduled for Monday, when Britain will hold a state funeral for the late queen, have, where possible, been postponed until Tuesday.

Quinn will close out the catwalk schedule on Tuesday.

“That image of when the queen came to London Fashion Week was actually at Richard’s first fashion show and it was a fantastic way to celebrate his brilliant creativity and the impact he was already having back then in 2018,” Rush said. — AFP

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